Clean

Clean

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

I can feel it swimming through my veins like glitter … it’s liquid gold.

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom.

She’s wrong. Rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility.

From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady.

As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all …

It’s a dirty business getting clean …

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Thoughts:

Hmm. I had heard mixed reviews before starting this book. I really thought it was going to be another 5 star read as so often Juno Dawson’s books are. However, it’s not a 5 star read for me. It’s a 3 star. Just. Before going into this book, please be aware that there are massive trigger warnings. It’s a book about addicts. There’s bound to be something that will trigger others. It totally doesn’t mean it should be avoided or not written about. I just think if you’re ultra sensitive maybe steer clear.

Clean begins with Lexi’s brother Nikolai taking her to an exclusive rehab centre. Nikolai had found his sister almost comatose after a drug binge. The rehab centre looks amazing, like a luxury holiday on an exclusive island. However, Lexi isn’t going to find the ‘break’ easy. No alcohol and definitely no drugs. Lexi has been taking the hard stuff. As a socialite she is able to fund the habit and her boyfriend’s habit too. Coming off the drugs is brutal. Juno Dawson doesn’t hold back as she documents Lexi’s road to recovery. As Lexi becomes clean she meets many peers all under the age of 25 whose issues include anorexia, overeating, sex addiction and substance abuse.

I think something that is important to mention is that Clean doesn’t glamorise drug use. It shows it to be an awful, ugly addiction which can change your mindset and seriously affect your health and your relationships. There are some incredibly mature themes so I definitely would say this book is towards the end age range of YA.

Part of this reason why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I wanted to, was that I found Lexi completely insufferable. I couldn’t relate to her whatsoever. Whilst I did feel some sympathy for what she had gone through, I didn’t really connect with her. I often just rolled my eyes when she said or did certain things. I also thought some of the language was unnecessary. I get it, in points, it’s needed but I personally thought that some of the language was banded about for the shock value.

P.S. That cover will never be ‘Clean’ from my fingerprints #bookwormstruggles

Would I recommend it?:
Yes- with caution.

Not what I expected, but definitely a raw and uncomfortable read!

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Turtles All The Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

Thoughts:

I went into this book with low expectations. You might think that I’m a John Green fan, if you look at my previously reviewed section. I’m not a massive fan. I’m just trying to make myself ‘get’ him like so many of my blogging friends. I’ve come to realise that I can appreciate John Green’s writing, but I’ll never be his biggest fan. That being said, I did really enjoy Turtles All The Way Down. If ‘enjoy’ is really the right word. It is an intense look at mental health that did make me tear up at times.

Don’t expect to go into this book with a plot that is massively exciting and fast-paced. Turtles All The Way Down is definitely a character driven, slow moving plot. It’s about Aza and her friend Daisy. They are intrigued by the disappearance of an old friend’s (Davis) father. Alongside that plotline, Aza is trying to be good. She’s trying to be a good daughter, friend, student and find the answers for Davis and his brother Noah. She’s also coping with crippling mental health issues.

A character driven novel has to have characters that you can root for. You just find yourself getting very bored otherwise. Aza struggles with her mental health. This book really delves into that. It doesn’t sugar coat anything at all. Aza’s tale is to the point and so believable that I actually found myself feeling incredibly uncomfortable with some of her decisions. I could see her spiralling out of control page after page and I wanted to reach into the book and comfort her. I also really loved Daisy, Aza’s best friend. It was interesting to read about her perception of Aza’s anxiety.

The reason why I didn’t give this book 4 stars is because I felt a little put off by the plotline of Davis and his brother Noah’s missing father. I didn’t think it really added much to the story and actually took away from the importance/message that I believe it was trying to portray. I also didn’t really buy into the romance.

Please don’t let the fact that I rated this 3.5 stars put you off. I think so many people are going to love this book. I expected to dislike it and I was pleasantly surprised. Just be aware that it is definitely a raw, real look into mental health.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

As someone that doesn’t worship John Green, I was pleasantly surprised by this book!

The Escape

The Escape

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Treatment
The Accident
The Lie
The Missing

Synopsis:

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

Thoughts:

I’ve come to realise that C.L Taylor’s books are dramatic and can sometimes a little unbelievable but do you know something? I’m totally okay with that. This is the fifth book I’ve read by C.L Taylor and I can confirm that I’m quite a fan of her writing!

The Escape centres around who has been suffering from agoraphobia for many years. However, Jo has learn strategies to cope with her agoraphobia. She’s able to work as long as she keeps to the rules she has set for herself. Unfortunately, one day Jo loosens the rules by giving a lift to a woman she doesn’t know. The woman’s name is Paula and she gives Jo very little chance to refuse. She has one of Elise’s mittens and gives her a very unsettling warning about looking after her daughter. It turns out that Paula knows her, her husband and her daughter. Jo’s worries heighten as you can imagine and this begins the tension. Jo ends up going to Ireland to lie low, but the trouble just follows her…

Jo isn’t the easiest character to like. I don’t know what it was about her really, but I was desperate for her to have a little more fight in her. However, I still found myself wanting things to turn out well for her. I found her husband a little infuriating too, but this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story. There’s something about this author’s writing that I find totally compelling.

C.L Taylor sure has a way of keeping you turning the pages. Her characters are well fleshed out and totally believable, even if sometimes the situations may seem a little exaggerated- it still seems like these could be real people!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

I may not have thought much of these characters, but the story kept me turning the pages!

Whistle In The Dark

Whistle in the Dark

How did I get it?:
Netgalley- thanks to Penguin Books UK

Synopsis:

Jen and Hugh Maddox have just survived every parent’s worst nightmare.

Relieved, but still terrified, they sit by the hospital bedside of their fifteen-year-old daughter, Lana, who was found bloodied, bruised, and disoriented after going missing for four days during a mother-daughter vacation in the country. As Lana lies mute in the bed, unwilling or unable to articulate what happened to her during that period, the national media speculates wildly and Jen and Hugh try to answer many questions.

Where was Lana? How did she get hurt? Was the teenage boy who befriended her involved? How did she survive outside for all those days? Even when she returns to the family home and her school routine, Lana only provides the same frustrating answer over and over: “I can’t remember.”

For years, Jen had tried to soothe the depressive demons plaguing her younger child, and had always dreaded the worst. Now she has hope—the family has gone through hell and come out the other side. But Jen cannot let go of her need to find the truth. Without telling Hugh or their pregnant older daughter Meg, Jen sets off to retrace Lana’s steps, a journey that will lead her to a deeper understanding of her youngest daughter, her family, and herself.

Thoughts:

I had a very odd relationship with Emma Healey’s debut novel, it didn’t quite work for me, however, I was really intrigued by the synopsis of her latest novel Whistle In The Dark.  I’m really glad that I gave Emma Healey’s writing another chance, because I actually really enjoyed this book. Don’t you love it when a book surprises you?

Whistle In The Dark opens with Jen and Hugh’s daughter being found after being missing for several days. Lana is found pretty much unharmed with just some injuries on her body. The worst isn’t over yet though, Lana refuses to tell anyone what had happened to her in those days. The story then follows Lana and her family as they begin to adapt to life after such a worrying event.

I was immediately gripped at the beginning, wondering what on earth had happened to Lana. I loved that the story was told from Jen’s perspective, but this is a story where I wonder what it would have been like to hear more from Lana.

This story is about the challenges of being a mother. Not only the everyday challenges of motherhood, but the challenges of being a mother to someone who is incredibly troubled. Lana suffers from depression, leaving her mother to be incredibly anxious and exhausted. She constantly worries about Lana’s wellbeing.

I thought Emma Healey perfectly captured Jen’s anxiety over her daughter and her desire to find out exactly what had happened to her. It was very believable. I feel like this book really delved into family life and explored relationships, not just between Jen and Lana but between Jen and Meg (her other daughter) and Jen and her husband, Hugh too. I don’t usually enjoy books like this, but I was gripped and I put that down to Emma Healey’s wonderful writing.

The only reason why I haven’t rated this book any higher, is that I felt like the middle of the story lacked pace to keep me super intrigued. The beginning and the ending are fabulous, but I was left wanting more when reading the middle section.

Would I recommend it?
Yes!

A truly engaging read about the stresses of family life!

We Are Young

We Are Young

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Hatchette

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

On the same night Evan’s mother marries local radio DJ ‘Breakfast Tim’, Evan’s brand-new step-brother Lewis is found unconscious and terribly injured, the only survivor of a horrific car crash.

A media furore erupts, with the finger of blame pointed firmly at stoner, loner Lewis. Everyone else seems to think the crash was drugs-related, but Evan isn’t buying it. With the help of her journalist father, Harry, she decides to find out what really happened that night.

As Evan delves deeper into the lives of the three teenagers who died in the crash, she uncovers some disturbing truths and a secret that threatens to tear her family – and the community – apart for ever…

Thoughts:

I really enjoy Cat Clarke’s writing, so I jumped at the chance to read this book. I always really appreciate when authors include mental health and this story has it in abundance and deals with it very well. It’s not my favourite Cat Clarke book, but it was very enjoyable nevertheless and incredibly easy to read despite its subject matter.

It starts with Evan and Billy attending their mum’s wedding to radio presenter Tim. Although, they’re not looking forward to the wedding, they never anticipate how the night will end up. Their new stepbrother, Lewis, has been in car crash. He was in the car with strangers and is left in intensive care with some very serious injuries. Evan is determined to find out what exactly happened to Lewis. Why was he in a car with strangers?

Cat’s writing is incredibly addictive. I couldn’t help but turn the pages eager to find out what was going to happen. I loved the mysterious elements of the story. Evan was a fabulous character who I immediately warmed to. I felt she was an incredibly realistic character that many young adults will be able to relate to.

I do feel like Cat Clarke’s books are a lot darker than you first might expect. There’s so many different issues in this book and they’re all dealt with incredibly well. I loved how the main focus of the story was about mental health in young adults. It really highlighted the dangers of not getting help or speaking out about your problems.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Another wonderful read from Cat Clarke!

Eliza and Her Monsters

Eliza and Her Monsters

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Made You Up

Synopsis:

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

Thoughts:

I really enjoyed the author’s debut novel, Made You Up, so much so that I had Eliza and Her Monsters pre-ordered. I may have only got around to reading it this January, but I still had faith that I’d enjoy it based on her debut. I wasn’t wrong. Eliza and Her Monsters is a fantastically geeky YA read. I lapped it up!

The story centres around Eliza who, online, is LadyConstellation. She is the anonymous creator of the very popular webcomic ‘Monstrous Sea’. Eliza is very different in real life. She’s quiet, weird and without friends. She really is the polar opposite online, but Eliza wants to keep her online world purely online. Eliza is made to look out for a new transfer student at school named Wallace. She finds out that he’s a super fan of ‘Monstrous Sea’ and writes fanfiction about it! Wallace begins to bring Eliza out of her shell (he simply thinks she’s a fan of the webcomic) and Eliza wonders if a life offline would be so bad. Unfortunately, Eliza’s identity is revealed and life turns completely upside down.

Eliza and Her Monsters is unique because of the way it’s told. It uses illustrations from her webcomics and online chats with her friends on the ‘Monstrous Sea’ forums. It was really important to see this in the story because it made it so much more realistic. Eliza’s life was online and this made it totally believable. I love books that experiment with social media/internet extracts. It’s modern, it’s fun but it doesn’t always work. However, Francesca Zappia really writes it well!

Eliza is a fabulous character who I can imagine many people relating to. I know I saw a lot of myself in Eliza. Eliza found life online much easier to handle than the real world. Eliza was completely different to the rest of her family. She was quiet and anxious and didn’t get social cues as much as others. I loved that you could still tell how much Eliza’s family cared for her even if they left her to her own devices. They knew that’s what Eliza wanted. Wallace was a good addition to the story and I loved how he was bringing her out of her shell and encouraging her to step outside of her comfort zone. He never forced her and was patient. I loved that.

I also appreciated the portrayal of Eliza’s panic attacks. In general, her anxiety was incredibly well represented. The reader could clearly see how it was affecting Eliza’s life and how there wasn’t just a magic fix.

This is a fabulous second novel from Francesca Zappia. I was impressed!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A wonderfully geeky story, but one that also has a 10/10 representation of anxiety!

A Quiet Kind Of Thunder

A Quiet Kind of Thunder

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Beautiful Broken Things

Synopsis:

Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it. 

Thoughts:

I really enjoyed Sara Banard’s debut novel so I was super excited to get to read A Quiet Kind Of Thunder. I always worry when I enjoy a debut so much because sometimes the next book can’t quite live up to it. However, A Quiet Kind Of Thunder was a stunning read which was both cute and moving at the same time.

It centres around Steffi who has been unable to talk to others that aren’t close to her. She is a selective mute. It doesn’t mean she chooses not to speak, she physically finds it difficult and can’t speak to others. No one has ever been able to put their finger on why Steffi can’t speak to others. There are a lot of things that have happened in Steffi’s young life, but the selective mutism came before some tragic events. Steffi is starting sixth form with the pressure of some new people and having to talk as her best friend has moved to college. Steffi knows staying at sixth form is easier, because others are aware of her difficulties. A new guy, Rhys, starts the sixth form. He is deaf and she is asked to be his guide because she knows sign language. Rhys and Steffi begin to build a beautiful friendship. He helps her learn more about sign language and Steffi helps him around sixth form. Gradually they grow closer and develop feelings for one another. They become very dependent on one another. It’s the sweetest thing!

This book won’t be for every reader as it is quite sickly sweet with the romance. However, I was fully on board with it. It was a cute, believable romance. It wasn’t just about that though. It was about Steffi’s journey to recovery. Life wasn’t easy for her just because she had found someone. I appreciated the representation of selective mutism and social anxiety. It wasn’t an easy fix and I adore that in a book. Give me more realistic mental health books! 🙂

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

I highly recommend this sweet read!